The ravens are looking a bit sluggish. Tell Malcolm they need new batteries.

Monday, March 23


Daily News Stuff 23 March 2020

Overstocked Edition

Tech News

Disclaimer: You are technically wrong, which is the best kind of wrong.

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Sunday, March 22


Daily News Stuff 22 March 2020

A Farewell To Gulf Streams Edition

Tech News

  • The Case of the Counterfeit Unicorn.  (Lowering the Bar)
    The world is facing a real emergency.  Plaintiff is not.  The motion to reconsider the scheduling order is denied.

  • The Case of Google v. Oracle.  (Inside)

    The nineteenth iteration of the Oracle / Google debacle has also been postponed due to the catastrophic global plague pandemic situation.

  • When you've lost Tech Crunch, you've lost, well, Tech Crunch.  (Tech Crunch)

    Apple has refilmed Spielberg's Amazing Stories series.  I don't recall the original making much of a splash, and this version sounds like it's achieve laminar flow.  Which is not a good thing.

  • Julia 1.4 is out.

    Julia is a language for scientific computing, what Fortran would be if it weren't Fortran and was Julia instead.

    The big question is does it finally support static compilation and the answer is sort of maybe but I'm using Crystal for that now.

  • TSMC has released full details of its 5nm process.  (WikiChip)

    Compared to the original 7nm node (there are now updated 7nm nodes) it delivers up to 87% higher transistor density and 15% better performance at the same power consumption or 30% lower power consumption at the same performance.  

    It also requires fewer processing steps than 7nm thanks to the use of EUV.  Combined with its higher density that should make it very cost-effective as volume ramps up.  Smaller die sizes mean a lot more good chips per waver.

  • Microsoft and Google have put new browser versions on hold temporarily while sysadmins get VPNs deployed for a billion new telecommuters.  (ZDNet)

    Bugfixes will continue as normal.

  • Microsoft's Surface Go 2 could use Intel's Amber Lake CPU.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Is that good?  Bad?  Apparently it's bad.  Does anyone keep track of the million lakes anymore?

    At least as silly as the part numbers have become you can get some idea of a chip's capabilities.  We're talking an m3-8100Y.  The Y means super-ultra-low-power - generally 6W, the m3 means it sucks, and the 8100 means that it's the bottom end of all the 8th generation parts when 10th generation is already out.

    That said, we are talking about an 8" tablet, and the CPU is 37% faster than the Pentium 4415Y used in the current Surface Go.

Disclaimer: Gotta catch 'em all: Surface Go.

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Saturday, March 21


Daily News Stuff 21 March 2020

Down And Out In The Magic Kingdom Edition

Tech News

  • Twitter suspended Cory Doctorow for being Cory Doctorow.  (TechDirt)

    Good call for once, Twitter.

  • Google has cancelled their I/O conference which hasn't been interesting since 2013.  (Tech Crunch)

    I thought it had already been cancelled.

  • Free plague candy!  (WCCFTech)

    I mean games, yes totally games and not candy that will give you the plague.

    GOG has 27 free games.  Okay, they're either old titles or minor titles, but they're free.

    Steam has...  Oh.  Steam has demos.  Fuck Steam.

  • Build a complete 8-bit computer with just five chips.  (IEEE Spectrum)

    An Atmel ATmega1284, a USB interface, and four 7400-family ICs.  (Yes, I know.)

    The 1284 has 128KB of flash and 16KB RAM, which is enough for a basic 8-bit computer - and it is actually an 8-bit CPU.  It runs at 20MHz with single-cycle execution, though, so it blows any actual 8-bit computer of the era out of the water.  Well, with this design 75% of the CPU time is spent generating the video output, and it runs at 14MHz, but even so.

    It runs Forth, which unless the implementation is absolutely terrible will run rings around interpreted Basic.

  • The problem with Active Records. (Cal Paterson)

    And also with REST.

    When I was a little boy programmer my day job was spent working with what is now called the "Active Record pattern" except that this was a long time ago and it actually worked properly.

  • We're getting one of those shiny Threadripper servers at my day job.  That will at least give me the chance to try it out and see what it can do before I plunk my own money down.  PassMark says it's three times as fast as our biggest current server on multi-threaded tasks, and about 60% faster single-threaded than our fasted server for that.  

    If it works out well we plan to add a bunch more and move stuff out of our expensive cloud servers.

Disclaimer: It ain't what you do it's the way that you do it.

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Friday, March 20


Daily News Stuff 20 March 2020

Dark Side Of The Sun Edition

Tech News

Disclaimer: Oh, fuff.  Fuff and fiddlesticks.

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Thursday, March 19


Daily News Stuff 19 March 2020

Long Drawn Out Scream Edition

Tech News

  • The site is glitchy today. Not this particular blog, for some reason. Working on it.

    Update: Whacked it extra hard, errors stopped. Let's see if that sticks. Couldn't find an underlying cause.

  • I hate Ethereum.

    It's cryptographic Stockholm Syndrome: You're so happy when something finally works that you forget that it shouldn't be that fucking hard.

  • I have located the perfect server for our operations.  Threadripper 3960X, 128GB RAM, 8TB PCIe x8 SSD - 1 million IOPS - and a 16TB disk drive for backups.

    The same day, the Aussie dollar cratered and now I don't know if I can afford it.  But it's not a one-off deal so maybe I can do something.

    (And when I say "perfect" I mean "woohoo total overkill baby".)

  • Sony have announced the specs of the PlayStation 5. (Tom's Hardware)

    It's around 90% of the Xbox Xeriex X:

    • Same 8 core Ryzen 2 but at 3.5GHz rather than 3.8GHz.
    • 36 RDNA 2 CUs vs. 52, but at about a 25% higher clock speed, so it gets 10.3 TFLOPs vs. 12 TFLOPs.
    • Much faster SSD - Sony say 5.5GB per second vs. 2.4GB per second on the Xbox.
    • Same 16GB of DDR6, but without the odd bandwidth split Microsoft have created.
    • 825GB SSD compared to 1TB, but it can be upgraded with select third-party PCIe 4.0 SSDs. Sony will publish an official compatibility list.

    Basically close enough that the titles will matter more than the hardware.

  • Facebook is blocking New York Times stories on the Wuhan Bat Soup Death Plague. (TechDirt)

    Popcorn time.

  • Speaking of Corona-chan, she may have met her match: A combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin cleared the virus from 100% of patients in the space of a week. (Google Drive) (PDF)

    96% of the control group still had the virus active in their systems at the end of the trial.

    It's a small study and brand new, so take it with a grain of salt, but it's not the only report of promising results with hydroxychloroquine and similar anti-malarials.

  • iPad support for mice and trackpads reportedly doesn't suck. (Six Colors)

    Which is interesting because mouse support on MacOS is a disaster area.

  • Nikola Tesla, call your office. Lab. Whatever. (Ars Technica)

    The Waveshare e-ink display is controlled by NFC from your smartphone.

    It is also powered by NFC from your smartphone.

    Downside: It takes five seconds to comply. Refresh. It takes five seconds to refresh.

Disclaimer: Crappity crap crap crap. This is not gonna look good on my report card.

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Daily News Stuff 18 March 2020

Kentucky Fried Extra Crispy Edition

Tech News

Disclaimer: On PlayStation 5 though, the SSD is zzzzzzzzzzz....

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Tuesday, March 17


Daily News Stuff 17 March 2020

We Built A Warehouse - It Sank Into The Swamp Edition

Tech News

Disclaimer: Impossible wishes, wishes that can never be granted, they produce...   A ferret.   Don't ask me why.  My first year here, all this was crawling with ferrets.

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Monday, March 16


Daily News Stuff 16 March 2020

Yes We Have No Deliveries, We Have No Deliveries Today Edition

Tech News

  • Coles - one of Australia's two big supermarket chains - has cancelled grocery deliveries until further notice. Starting on the day my delivery was due.

    Woolworths - the other of Australia's two big supermarket chains - hasn't cancelled grocery deliveries. They're just not accepting orders or delivering anything.

    Oh, and they're reducing store hours. So I can't go there late at night when I might actually be free to do so.

  • Ethereum upgradeable contracts actually work.

    This came as something of a shock given how painful it can be to get anything working on Ethereum at all.

    Such as when congestion spikes the transaction price by a factor of 40. Which is what it is doing right now.

  • 96 cores is the new 80. (AnandTech)

    This one has 8 DDR4 memory channels but only 64 PCIe 4.0 lanes per socket. But the CPU interconnect doesn't re-use the PCIe pins, so a dual-socket configuration has 128 PCIe lanes, the same as a dual-socket Epyc.

    This one is a custom design with 4 threads per core, so 768 hardware threads in a dual-socket system. Which is quite a lot.

  • Google just launched that Wuhan Bat Soup Death Plage screening site it wasn't developing as of yesterday. (Tech Crunch)

    Okay, Verily. But that's a dumb name so it doesn't count.

  • Never let a global viral bat soup pandemic go to waste. (Bitcoin News)

    US fuckwits - sorry, Senators - want to ban arithmetic in the name of protecting the children. Specifically banning end-to-end encryption, which you can't do because all it is, is arithmetic.

  • Microsoft has revealed all the specs of the Xbox Xeriex X. (

    • 8 Zen 2 cores at 3.8GHz
    • 52 RDNA 2 CUs at 1.825GHz for 12TFLOPs single precision
    • 16GB GDDR6 on some weird split bus thingy
    • 1TB NVMe SSD

    Put Windows 10 on it and it would make a pretty good desktop.  The only thing it's short of is RAM, and you can't really upgrade GDDR6.

Disclaimer: If you die in real life, you die in the game.

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Daily News Stuff 15 March 2020

Look At The Bones Edition

Tech News

  • WSL2 will ship with Windows 10 2004.  (Tom's Hardware)

    This version runs a full Linux kernel under virtualisation, and fixes things that currently don't work properly (or at all) like memory-mapped files.

  • Pokemon Go is now Pokemon Stay.  (WCCFTech)

    They haven't drastically altered the game, but they've made it easier to find Pokemons without travelling all over the place.  Incense, which attracts Pokelets to your current location, still needs to be bought for real money, but is now 99% cheaper.

  • Tech journalists are discovering to their horror that some jobs cannot be done from home.  (Wired)

    Won't someone do something, they cry.  Because they are dumb.

  • A look inside two 80-core Arm server designs.  (Serve the Home)

    Ampere's chip has eight memory channels and 128 PCIe lanes, just like AMD's Epyc, so the server designers - Wiwynn and Gigabyte - have adapted existing Epyc board layouts to the task.

  • If API definitions are copyrighted as Oracle claims, Oracle could be in big trouble.  (Ars Technica)

    Their business was founded on SQL, which would, if their claims are upheld in court, be copyrighted by IBM.  And they never licensed it.

Disclaimer: It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing.

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Saturday, March 14


Daily News Stuff 14 March 2020

Burning Down The House Edition

Tech News

  • AMD is just rubbing salt into Intel's wounds now.  (AnandTech)

    The 3900X was upwards of $700 at retail just a few months ago, is now $449 list price, and $419 at Amazon.

    Lower down the list the 3600X has been reduced from $249 to $224 and is actually available for $200, making it cheaper than toilet paper.

  • Global Foundries and Everspin are forging ahead with MRAM.  (AnandTech)

    One of the interesting points is that Global Foundries will be introducing embedded MRAM on their mainstream 12nm node, so that any chip can have MRAM added to it.

    MRAM isn't incredibly dense - the highest capacity chips are currently 1Gb - but there are a huge volume of microcontrollers produced every year with some small amount of flash storage - from kilobytes to megabytes.  Billions of them  Flash has more specific process requirements than MRAM, so those microcontrollers need to be built on flash-friendly process nodes rather than the ones that would be otherwise ideal.

    MRAM is faster and longer-lasting than common NAND flash, and is byte-addressable.  So while it still isn't poised to sweep the market for mobile phones or laptops, it has potential replace flash throughout the embedded space.

  • The usual suspects are giddy to have caught President Trump in a lie that Google is building a Wuhan Bat Soup Death Plague screening site.  (Tech Crunch)

    Because it's actually another division of Alphabet that's building the site!  Haha, walls are closing in now, sucker!

  • Et tu, C#?  (

    Microsoft is ending feature development on Visual Basic after 97 years.

  • Apple is closing all its retail stores.  (9to5Mac)

    Outside of China.

    For two weeks.

    So, nothing, basically.

    I mean, they're basically cafes without any coffee.

Disclaimer: Not that there's anything wrong with a cafe without coffee.  Personally can't stand the stuff.

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